Kmart stores across Australia have slashed operating hours to give staff more time to clean and fulfill online orders.
The decision was announced to customers late on Tuesday, just hours after two employees in the Chadstone store in Melbourne tested positive for coronavirus.
From Wednesday April 1, Kmart stores in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania will operate from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, and 8am to 5pm on weekends.
In Western Australia and South Australia, stores will open at 11am on Sundays, while Queenslanders will be able to visit stores from 7am during the week and on Saturdays.
On Sundays, Queensland stores will open at 9am.
Kmart operating hours will be reduced from Wednesday, April 1, to give staff more time to properly clean
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 4,559
New South Wales: 2,032
Western Australia: 364
South Australia: 337
Australian Capital Territory: 80
Northern Territory: 15
TOTAL CASES: 4,559
Throughout the nation, stores which once operated 24 hours a day will now be open from 8am to 10pm.
‘We want to play our part, during these uncertain times, to protect our team members and customers as best we can,’ the company said in a statement.
The retail chain, as well as other major names like Bunnings, Ikea and Target, could be forced to close its doors indefinitely should New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian enforce further stage four lockdown restrictions.
‘We will need to go further if people don’t respect what we’ve put in place now,’ Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday, Kmart in Chadstone, Melbourne, closed to undergo deep cleaning after the business learned two casual employees who completed shifts on Saturday, March 28, had contracted COVID-19.
Kmart employs more than 34,000 people across 200 stores throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Two men wear protective face masks as they shop in a retail centre and walk past sale signs
Key businesses like pharmacies and supermarkets would stay open. Pictured: a woman wears a protective mask at a Melbourne Woolworths checkout
Closing the retailer to see out the coronavirus crisis would be an additional blow to the industry, and force thousands more people to rely on government handouts.
The government has introduced three stimulus packages totaling $320billion to keep the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced thousands of businesses to close their doors.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s stage one lockdowns closed all restaurants, bars, clubs, pubs, cinemas and gyms, while stage two restricted hair salons and beauticians.
Advice from the government discouraging people from leaving their houses unless it is essential has crippled the retail industry, with many big names opting to close their doors until the virus passes despite the government technically allowing them to remain open.
AUSTRALIA’S CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS
STAGE ONE (March 23)
Registered and licensed clubs, entertainment venues, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs, indoor sports venues, including gyms, and places of worship were ordered to close as part of ‘stage one’ restrictions rolled out on Monday
STAGE TWO (March 25)
Australians banned from eating at shopping centre food courts, and the number of people at weddings, funerals and social gatherings limited to curb the spread of coronavirus.
STAGE THREE (March 30)
Playgrounds, skate parks, and outdoor gyms closed and boot camps reduced to one-on-one outdoor personal training sessions.
Federal government effectively bans gatherings of more than two people across Australia to slow the spread of coronavirus – but leaves enforcement to state governments.
Victoria announces ‘stage three’ in the state, introducing fines of $1,600 for non-compliance of the two-person rule.